Celebrating 50 Years of growing Closer Together

14th October 2012

Jubilee Clergy

A full church greeted Ministers from churches in and around the town at Churches Together in Farnham’s Golden Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving, held at St.Joan of Arc Church on Sunday 14th October 2012.

The theme was Faith in Jesus Christ - giving thanks for 50 years of growing closer together in prayer and shared work in the community.  Twenty-six Farnham churches were involved in the service through music, scripture readings or in the procession of symbols - both Christian symbols, including the Bible, Bread and Wine; and symbols representing joint endeavours - the Good Friday Walk of Witness, the Christmas Day Lunch, Farnham ASSIST for over 60s, Farnham Foodbank for families in need, Christian Aid, Farnham Christian Community Trust and the Chaplaincy of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.

The Rev Desmond Parsons, founder secretary of Farnham Christian Council 50 years ago, spoke about “how we began”.  The name was changed to Churches Together in Farnham just 20 years ago, on 15th October 1992 at the AGM, which coincidentally was also held at St.Joan’s Church.

Jubilee Nicola

Desmond (pictured right with Nicola Mountain) said:

“It is a great joy to be here with you all on this very special occasion.  Little did we think, 50 years ago, that we should become this united body of churches, praising God together and working together in so many different ways; a glimpse of Heaven, each and every one praising God and caring for one another.

“There have also of course been times of difficulty and when we have wondered whether it would be possible for CTF to continue, but someone has always come forward, prompted by the spirit of love and service.  As I look back over the years, there are certainly signs of a benevolent God watching over us as we look to the the future with confidence....

“I would like to finish by referring to the large number of activities and practical help offered to the community as a direct result of Churches loving their neighbours.  Perhaps we need to look to the question of how we can relate better with young people in the community and how to find appropriate opportunities for them to partake in worship and service.”

The service was led by Father Niven Richardson, Parish Priest of St Joan of Arc Church and Pastor Michael Hall, Chairman of Churches Together in Farnham.  There were words from a newcomer to ecumenism - Tim Visser who said we must all do more, a prayer by Canon Andrew Tuck, recently retired Rector of Farnham, and an address by the Rev Sue Loveday, Co-ordinator of Churches Together in Surrey.  Special guests included the Mayor of Waverley, Cllr Tony Gordon-Smith and the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Stephen Hill and Mayoress Helen Hill.  From New Zealand, and especially for the service, came Nicola Mountain, remembered with great affection for her outstanding and amazing organising of Celebrate 2000, Farnham’s Millennium festival at Waverley Abbey, and Celebrate 2001 - truly ecumenical gatherings.  Former officers of CTF came from near and far.

For the Jubilee Service, CTF produced a booklet containing the order of service and notes on Farnham’s Christian Heritage.
Please DOWNLOAD A COPY HERE - PDF format (Large file 1,412,662 bytes).

The reception in St Joan's Centre following the service was joyful, vibrant and will be remembered.  Praise the Lord!  An exhibition showed memorabilia going back 50 years.